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Hiring in Civil Rights Division Scrutinized

Posted Jun 4, 2007 8:07 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are turning their attention to allegations of political hiring in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

Bradley Schlozman, who formerly was acting assistant attorney general in the division, will testify before the committee on Tuesday, Legal Times reports. Democrats plan to ask him whether he used political considerations when hiring lawyers for the division's voting-rights and appellate sections.

Schlozman also is expected to be asked about the division’s actions in several controversial voting-rights cases.

The development comes as an ethics probe of the firings of U.S. attorneys is expanded to include allegations of improper hiring practices in the division. Dozens of career lawyers have left the division following clashes over decisions in voting-rights cases, the Washington Post reports.

A Justice Department spokesman would not comment on allegations about Schlozman, but released a statement defending hiring practices. "The Civil Rights Division seeks to hire outstanding attorneys with demonstrated legal skills and abilities regardless of their political or ideological backgrounds," the statement said.

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